Saturday morning I didn’t have any obligations. Heather went off to teach her classes and the kid didn’t want to go walking or hiking or much of anything. So I went off to Turkey Mountain all on my lonesome.
A perfect trail, I love the dappled sun.
I like exploring Turkey Mountain with my family or friends but I am okay with it on my own as well. I get totally lost in the moment feeling the sun or shade on my face, the heat, humidity, what the ground feels like under my feet, other people up there and everything else. It is all just part of the whole. You can’t keep your head in the clouds though. You have to keep an eye on the trail so you don’t trip plus the copperheads are out and they are hard to spot.
An open air auditorium. The trees make a natural archway.
So I have a rough idea of what I want to do but I feel free to change it up as the mood strikes me.
Slow and steady down the this steeper than it looks and rocky trail.
Turkey Mountain is just so lush and green this early in the summer. Give it time under some hot sun and the green will lose its freshness and the ponds, creeks, and springs will dry up. It’s all part of the cycle.
This is one of Heather’s day lilies in front of our house on Sunday morning after a night’s rainfall. I just love rain drops on flowers.
Saturday I went hiking on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain and found some color. Or some color besides green. The mountain is covered in bright green and I love it but I also love other colors also
And here is some yellow flowers. I have no idea about flowers so I call these yellow flowers.
And here is one of the trails I ran. You see what I mean about bright green?
And here is a purple wildflower.
After years using a Toshiba I finally got a new computer. The Toshiba was still working but the pentium chip just wasn’t up to the demands of Lightroom and Photoshop and other photo software I use. so I got a brand spanking new Dell with a fast processor. I also have a solid state hard drive that is about half the size of the one I had but I don’t keep much data on machine. I got it at Staples and had them move the data and programs from the old machine to the new and you know something they did a great job and the cost was very reasonable.
A few weeks ago I took a walk on Turkey Mountain. I came onto the recently cleared and regraded pipeline and I noticed that one could view the entire west side of Turkey Mountain and if you look really closely you can vaguely see the tall buildings of downtown Tulsa in the distance. We love our urban wilderness here in Tulsa.
I have run by this a bunch of times and never noticed it. A big trunk with several wraps of barbed wire. Turkey Mountain used to have farms on it and was an active oilfield back in the day.
Sunday morning I went for a walk on Turkey Mountain here in Tulsa. There was a running group that was leaving at 8 am but I didn’t join them. I have not run since I injured myself during the Route 66 Half Marathon in November. Since then I have been walking, cycling, rowing, walking, elliptical machining and a lot of resistance training. I still don’t feel like I should be running. My knees are popping a lot and I don’t know if I will ever run again. (sniff??)
This was a wire fence, almost decorative starting from the tree in the first pic. In fact, if you go back and look at the first pic you will see that it is this fence that is imprinted in the tree trunk! It makes me wonder if there was a house here at one time. Turkey Mountain has a history, and a lot of ghosts. I can sense the ghosts when I run here at twilight. Again something I never saw before. Maybe walking and hiking will give me a new perspective on things?
So I have been thinking about why I started running in the first place. I started running a little late in life. I am not a natural athlete. I was 37 years old and had found out that my cholesterol was sky high and my cholesterol ratio was terrible. The exercise guy I consulted said that running was the most bang for the buck. So I started running and really never stopped. I entered races and eventually ran a couple of marathons and a whole bunch of half marathon and 15 to 25k races and countless 5 to 10K’s. I loved the hopeless feeling of being 5 miles from the finish and exhausted and then somehow making it to the finish. I didn’t care that I finished 57th out of 62 in my age group. Finishing was the goal, and I always finished, one way or the other.
A base for an oil well pumpjack from way back. There was a geocache here that I never could find and it is no longer active.
So that was then, and this is now. I can see me hiking instead of running the trails. I can see my biking a lot more. If you can’t do what you want, do what you can. So my doctor says “… your tread is running a little thin.” So I am going to save my tread for hiking and maybe the occasional trotting 5K. I’ll be on my bicycle a lot more and in the gym a lot more. Taking care of my tread.
I collect trees. Here is one on Turkey Mountain. It seems a little here and there and perhaps unstable? Do you know unstable trees? Do they make you nervous? This one makes me nervous.
I can deal with it. Circumstances change, you have to change with them. My goal is to be as active as I can for as long as I can, however I can.
Turkey Mountain is an urban wilderness and is maintained mainly by volunteer labor. It is not groomed like a city park. The trails are kept clear. Many of them by people showing up with their hand saws and power saws and cleaning things up on their own initiative. The cuttings are tossed to the side. They are not hauled off. So the woods show the cumulative effect of windstorms, ice storms, and tornadoes. We vounteers pick up the trash but leave the organic material to rot on its own. It works. No way could anybody afford to come clean everything up. The people who love Turkey Mountain don’t want them to do so. I’ve had friends say, “It is so icky up there, why don’t they clean it up.” And I would never tell them but my thought is, “Turkey Mountain is not for you maybe?”
The ironic thing is that all this running didn’t do crap for my cholesterol levels. It lowered it by about 10%. Now drugs, drugs knocked my LDL’s in the butt. At $7.50 for a month’s worth, I am sticking with that. Of course, with statin drugs, deaths from heart attacks are cut but total mortality doesn’t change!! Huh!! Yep, true fact. I am going to continue taking them anyway. In the long term, the mortality rate is 100%!! You can’t argue with that.
What about you? Are you having any changes lately?
Son Logan and I went on a hike on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Wilderness Area last Friday. It was cold to start but sunny. The sunny part of it made for some great shadows.
I’m still recovering from my knee injury so I picked an easy trail. The upper yellow trail from the south to north. When I run I like to take this route to start because it is a slight downhill the whole way and I feel like areal runner. No running this time but it was still pretty easy.
We found us a tree. Turkey Mountain is full of trees. There is plenty for everybody so if you come here feel free to claim one. Please leave it though. Take all the pictures you want and visit anytime!
The upper yellow trail passes some moonscape type terrain.
We also found an old oil well. Turkey Mountain used to have lots of wells back in the day and there are reminders around everywhere.
We also found this shelter made of branches. It is at the highest point on Turkey Mountain. I am not sure who used it. I doubt it was a homeless person. The surrounding area had no trash or debris at all. Most homeless camps are pretty messy. Plus most homeless camps are near places where they can get water and food. This place is a pretty arduous hike for a homeless person. So it is a mystery to me. I have a feeling somebody came up and camped here. In my evening runs on the mountain I have seen several people leaving the parking lot with camping gear. Camping is forbidden but I am not the camping police is my motto.
By the time we got back to the parking lot, it was a lot warmer. Plus if the hike is downhill all the out, then it is uphill all the way back. Plus I decided to pick a little tougher trail with more rocks. We were ready to get home and down some cold water.
I am such a lazy skywatcher. Every work day this time of year at about 5:15 I get from my cubicle with my iphone and walk down to the west end of the building and check out the sunset. Sometimes if it is too cloudy or no clouds there is not much to see. I shoot through the glass and I have found a spot behind a pillar next to the window where I shoot through the glass at an angle, and that cuts the back reflection back tremendously. It is still there but you have to look hard to find it.
This is a bull from the ranch in western Oklahoma. The photo was taken by my wife’s cousin’s wife who sent it to me and I edited it a little bit. I love the scenery and people of Western Oklahoma. You can tell this bull has a little attitude. Life as a bull is a balance. You need to get the job done with the heifers and a little attitude is tolerated. Too much and off you go, never to be seen again except maybe at your local butcher shop.
A little closer to home is a family walk on Turkey Mountain the day after Thanksgiving. We had a nice Thanksgiving and we all (including my brother not pictured) went a little walk. I am pretty gimpy right now and I got real gimpy during the walk. I bit off a little more than I should have with my running. In the course of a month I ran three fairly long distance races, a 15K road race, a 25K trail race, and a half marathon on the road. So my knee is kind of sore. So I am working to strengthen my quads, and loosen my hamstrings, and try to maintain some sort of fitness with non running exercises all while loading up on ibuprofen, and icing my knee when I can. So far my it is getting better. I don’t think I will be running until January.
Turkey n Taturs on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain has to be one of the oldest trail races in the area and the most handy being right in Tulsa. It was my first trail race in 2009. I was not very familear with that style of racing nor Turkey Mountain and I was bewildered by how you run a race on narrow trails and was totally lost on the mountain. If it were not for the great marking I would not know where they heck I was or where to go. It was my first trail race and I have run it several times over the years. It has lengths of 50 kilometers, 25K, and 10K. 10K to the hard core crowd is barely a fun run. Somehow I felt the need to try the 25K even though I had not trained for it. My plan was to walk the rocks and uphills and trot the flats and downhills and not worry about my time. I knew that it could take me a long time.
So I got to the back of the crowd of the race. One thing I love about trail races is that there are not that many people in them and everybody is very nice, no pushing and shoving. It is a very friendly crowd and very accepting of newcomers. They asked how many people were in the first trail race and a bunch of people raised their hand. So the fun goes off and off I go!! I love how the women turn around and give me a look after the gun went off.
I went running with the rest of them, and then it was like. Wait, the plan, the plan. So I stopped and started walking and let everybody go on ahead. And I strolled along. I hadn’t warmed up or anything and I wanted to walk a half mile before running so that is what I did.
Lake Logan at the West Side Y. A little muddy but beautiful.
So after a half mile I started trotting and walking at regular intervals, especially walking the rocky areas. I fell on my knee about two years ago and still feel the aftereffects of that so I tiptoe when I am around the rocks.
I made it up to the upper parking lot and stopped for a little refreshment at the aid station there. Trail Races have top notch aid stations. Lots of water and gatorade, salty snacks, sweet snacks, cookies, sandwiches. They also pretty much had a full bar. If I was just doing the 10K I might have had a beer or a shot, but not for 25K (which is over 15 miles). I drank a ton of water the gatorade. Had some of the baked potatoes rolled in salt, pretzels, and some other snacks. I also carried a hydration pack with 1.5 liters of water that I sipped on periodically every so often. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that dehydration is a bummer and it can happen even in cold weather.
My race started at 7 am. The 10K started at 7:30 am and I started getting passed by the 10K guys before I got too far. Those guys were flying.
After a while it got to be a regular processing. Life is humbling being a slow plodder.
But other than getting passed I ran by myself. I was really enjoying the Fall colors.
And it was kind of funny. The mountain is not closed during the race and all the trails are open and so there lots of other people out and about. I ran into my old boss and his wife. We stopped and chatted for a while. And then he said, “We are not slowing you down are we?” Well actually I am pretty slow all by myself and don’t need any help but we parted. I ran into a family who looked pretty tired with some small ones in tow. They asked me if they were headed to the parking lot. I said no they weren’t, they needed to turn around and go the other way. They asked how far, and you should have seen the look on their faces when I told them that it was about a mile and a half. We talked a little bit more as the Dad couldn’t believe that he was going north when he thought he was going south and I thought he was going to plow on ahead going the wrong way. I think I got him convinced to turn around but they were still standing there when I left. You know how guys are, right?
I think that I had been on all the trails the race used before except for this one.You can see the markings and it is the faintest trail I have ever seen. It was all good.
When I got to the lower parking lot I ran into these ladies. The Wonder Women were operating an aid station. They had all sorts of goodies including my new favorites peanut butter and pickel wraps. I ate a bunch of those along with water, gatorade, salted potatoes, a few pickles, pretzels, and fritos and a few cookies. (And you wonder why don’t lose weight with all my running.) They were great hostesses and great sports and a lot of fun. I was at about 10 miles into the run by then and I didn’t take too many other photos.
I left the lower parking lot to get on the Red Trail which goes even lower than the lower trail and then it is uphill quite a ways to the upper parking lot and I walked pretty much the rest of the race.
When I got to the upper parking lot aid station, I lingered while resting and one of the people there said “I feel like I need to do something for you, but I don’t know what.” So I said I was okay and just needed to rest a little bit more. I made sure to hydrate and get some calories in and then I took off, if walking away means taking off. My calves hurt, my feet hurt, and I was tired. I did perk up and run the last couple hundred yards at the finish. I mean you have to finish strong and make it look like you have been running the whole way. It me about five and half hours or more to finish and I am proud as can be about it.
I am not a big fan of doing races you are not ready for but I think my plan for the 25K worked pretty well. I dreaded the red trail up to the upper parking lot and it turned out to be worse than I thought it would be but I didn’t stop. I did make baby steps though up the steeper parts.
Here is my relive video of the first 12 miles or so of the run. My gps enabled watch ran out of juice before I finished so the video is incomplete but you can see how intensively the trails were used for the 25K. The 50K was two laps of the 25K. Those guys and gals are my heroes. I couldn’t imagine doing what I did twice.
The run was sponsored by Runners World Tulsa and the Race Directors did a great job. Great well marked course, lots of aid stations, nice t shirt and medal, food, and liquids. Check, check, check, check, and check. But did everybody have fun!! Yes!!
Thanks to Runners World for sponsoring the event, and the co-directors Kathy Hoover and Bryan Drummond, Brian Hoover and Tatur for timing the event, and the army of volunteers who set up the aid stations, cooked the food, and did lots of lugging and packing and for the participants who make it fun. They all got up well before light on a Sunday morning. And a huge thanks for the Wonder Women!!
On Sunday, son Logan and I went for a walk on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. I had run a race the day before so I just wanted so get out and stretch my legs a little bit. Something called a “recovery walk” or a “recovery run” except I was not running.
Turkey Mountain has a few double track miles of trails but most of it is single track. Once we got a quarter mile away from the parking lot, we had the place to ourselves.
The air was just barely warm, and dry, and the skies were deep blue.
The just barely changed leaves were almost fluorescent with the sun shining through them.
The grasses are just now turning color.
Here is a track of our journey. We stayed on the “Snake Trail” not because of snakes but because the trail folds back on itself.
I’m running a 25K race this coming weekend on Turkey Mountain, the TurkeynTaturs 25K. We’ll be running the Snake Trail and just about all the other trails on Turkey Mountain as well. I’lve pretty much run them all. I plan on taking my time and trotting the non-rocky flats and downhill segments and walking through the rocks and uphills.
This is a cumulative “heat map” showing all the trails I had run as of several months ago. As you can see I run a lot on Turkey Mountain. I love it and the race Saturday will be a tour of all of it.
Wish me luck!! It will be the longest race that I have run since 1997 when I ran the Madison Marathon in Wisconsin.
This morning was my return to the “Escape from Turkey Mountain 5 Mile” race. Two years ago I ran it and injured my knee when I fell on a rock and caused me to miss about two or three months of running while I rehabbed with physical therapy and exercise. Last year I waited to too long to register and they filled up so this year I was ready!! There were a lot of people there and I went to the back for the start.
And off we went, see all those people ahead of me? They all pretty much stayed ahead of me.
See all the folks behind me? I think almost all of them finished ahead of me. Strange how that works.
Up “the Staircase” from the lower yellow trail to the upper yellow. I have been on the staircase before, I just didn’t know that it had a name. Almost every physical feature on Turkey Mountain has a name, usually several names. My favorite trail is “I want my mommy.” Run it sometime, you will be crying for your mommy.
I am rocking my new running shirt. I love it! Most expensive shirt, of any kind, that I own.
So anyway I finished without falling on anything. I stumbled and almost tripped a few times and slid a few times but managed to stay on my feet. My time was about 1 hr 30 minutes and the distance was about 5.22 miles. So my official time was only about 5 minutes faster than my last run with the knee problem two years ago but the course was a quarter mile longer than then. I am about 20 minutes off the pace I was three years ago. That happens when you are fat, old, and slow.
So, how was the race? Let me see, great course, check. Nice run shirt, check. Medal, check, Food, they had hamburgers, turned out quickly, check. Beer, check, Marshall’s craft beer, so double check. I’ll be back!!
Thank you to Fleet Feet Tulsa, and the many volunteers who make these races go. Thank you to my fellow runners for adding to the atmosphere.
No thanks to the mountain biker who almost crashed into me from behind while we were both going downhill and yelling at me “$%^$&(*&&* %^&*&^”. The convention and etiquette is that people who are participating in sanctioned events in a place, have priority over other people. It is not a rule or a law or anything, it is what people do. I would never interfere with a bicycle racer for example, I would most probably stay off the trails they were using. I had never had a bicyclist intrude like that into a trail race before. 99.99% of trail users are very considerate of others using the tracks.
This is my knee from two years ago. Lots better today. And I still have those socks!!
During the daylight savings time part of the year I run on Turkey Mountain at least once a week. I hadn’t been on the mountain for two weeks for various reasons so Wednesday night I was ready. I was very fortunate the weather was cool, in the high 80;s and it felt great. I wanted to do seven miles.
There is a powerline right of way that runs north/south the length of the park and the trail is called powerline also. I used to hate it because I loved the feeling of getting lost in the trees on the other trails but I have come to love powerline. It is up and down and very challenging.
At a crossroads on the northwest side of the mountain is this dryer. It has been there a long time. There is an unofficial trail on the northwest side called the “Pink Trail” it is so convoluted that I have never been to follow it. I am wondering how this appliance ended up here. It is a long ways from the nearest road.
Turkey Mountain is roughly two miles long and a mile wide so if you want to do a lot of miles and not loop on yourself constantly you have to plan your route. I did a three miles loop on the east side of the park and about a two mile loop on the west side and then hopped over to east side again to get on another trail. I dropped down to yet another trail via this narrow, steep drop between the rocks. The thing is when I first started exploring Turkey Mountain years ago I tried all the trails and then as time went by I narrowed down to a lot smaller set. It is kind of fun to go rediscover old trails. Also you don’t have crazy bicyclists running you down on trails like this.
There is something about a trail in the woods that I cannot resist.
So I was looking for seven but got eight due to some miscalculation and finished right at dark. Suited me fine. I am looking forward to my 23rd Tulsa Run 15K in October and i would like to run another half marathon in November. So I need to start ramping up my miles. It is not all training though. My running is a form of meditation for me. I get totally lost and live only in the present. In the woods the only thing I worry about is falling on my face and snakes.